Category Archives: social media project

Facebook and Photography

Let’s be up-to-the-minute topical again and talk about Facebook. There are a couple of news that are worthy of mentioning.
Has anyone copped on yet, that Facebook recently upped its photographic game again? I am talking about the recent upgrade of its photoviewer. In case you haven’t noticed: The social network has started to display images at high resolution as default. Thus they appear four times bigger than before at a max resolution of 2048 x 2048.
Do you really want to see this crap at highest resolution???
Happy faces all around? No, not necessarily. As (pro) photographers you may actually not want your images to be displayed that big because then they are print-compatible and possibly more open to plagiarism or copyright breach by third parties. On top of that, Facebook still reserves the right to use network members’ images for their own purposes – certainly not something that I particularly like because even as an avid FB user I do not necessarily want to endorse the company…
Somehow, Facebook always gets its default settings wrong. Same with the privacy settings that have everything public by default. In this case: Why not leave the default at a small resolution and give general opt-ins for those who always want to display their images at large resolution?
The company, of course, claims that they chose the highest possible resolution for the default setting because it thereby places even more emphasis on photographic/visual displays and aims to improve the service accordingly. Yeah right – it also means that more high resolution images are at Facebook’s disposal, should they deign to use one – without paying, of course – for their own purposes…
Well, it seems I am merely a little niggle in the big applause that Facebook generates for almost every little fart thing it produces. Apparently the network counts six billion photo uploads per month. For those who are better at visual representation (= photographers) than mere words: that’s 6.000.000.000 images per month. The only consolation: 99,9 percent of those billions of images are complete and utter crap, so it does not matter whether copyrights are protected or not. Ooooh, that’s really cynical…

Photography 365

This week was a week when I was bogged down by my RLW (real life work) and at the same time had an assignment due in college,  a business plan for an imaginary photo business that I might start in the future… well, here’s to dreaming, I guess… Under pressure, a lot of my more serious photography falls by the wayside. I find it hard to concentrate on two things at the same time, i.e. analyse the photography market in Ireland and at the same time produce stunning canteen shots… Plus, I almost feel guilty about going out and shooting while I should be sitting at home, writing up serious numbers. Because shooting is just too much fun – it doesn’t even feel like work… And sure, work is something that needs to hurt??? (Like writing a business plan…)
The only thing I was able to keep up was the 365 project. It’s a total win-win: I get to shoot photos and that way satisfy my need to be creative. But I don’t have to feel guilty about putting too much effort into it because they are all shot on the iPhone *hahaha*. Now, I can’t really claim that project for my own. I got into it thanks to my friend A___ who started his “an iPhone pic a day” exactly on the 1st of January. I only followed suit on the 1st of February, but have been good at keeping it up since then.
The project is exactly what it says on the tin: 365 pictures in one year, i.e. one picture a day. It’s hardly an original concept. Little schemes like this have been amusing photographers for years. But with the advancement of technology it has become so much easier to take part in such projects without much effort.
After A___ had told me about the idea, I did what I do best: I trailed the internet for an app that makes taking part in a personal 365 project easier. I wanted four things from this project:
  • shooting with iPhone, i.e. quick point and shoot photo fun without too much thinking
  • storing on net so as to not clog up my iPhone memory and is also possible to share with friends
  • no hassle picture upload straight from the phone rather than via the PC
  • and easy month-by-month overview of the images shot so far.
Oh hello – and I wanted it to be FREE. *ggg*
Confusingly, there are two very similarly named services available at the moment. A___ had recommended  365project. I had a quick look and nearly signed up for it when I realized that this does not actually support any upload straight from the iPhone. Essentially this is a service for *any* 365 project, whatever piece of equipment you shoot it on. Thus, once you have shot your picture of the day, you must import it to you computer and then you can upload it to the 365project website.
This may all be fine if you are trying to shoot a prefect image every time. Truth is: I am not. I am specifically looking for a 365 project that is geared towards iPhone images only. Which in turn means, I am not going to play with post-production. And if I am not interested in post-production, then I certainly will find importing via PC a detour. All I need is an iPhone app, actually!
But a bit of a research online and I struck lucky. iphoneproject365 does exactly what I want it to do: You download the app onto your iPhone. The app then lets you either take a picture right there and then by tapping the appropriate icon, or you can import an image from your iPhone photo library. Another tap on the inverted commas in the bottom left corner lets you comment on your image, write a caption or describe what is in your image. Then you tap on the upload arrow and within a few seconds the image will be uploaded into your very own 1-pic-a-day site. This both appears in your app and online. And this is what it looks like:
You get a monthly overview over all the images you have taken. They appear, as you can see, as square thumbnails. If you want to, you can actually crop your images to be squares – or you can just upload them as is. Navigation is via a couple of arrows (which I have cropped out of this image *duh*), so you can easily jump back and forth between the individual months. A click on a day will bring up the image in bigger format.
This little calendar overview is public, i.e. you can let your friends know your handle and they can surf to your calendar pages and check your daily progress. You can find me, for instance, at http://www.iphoneproject365.com/photos/SonjaShoots . However, there is one drawback to the app – there is no easy sharing. Social Media integration is still missing, i.e. the ubiquitous Facebook thumb or a simple little “share this” with options to send the link to twitter, stumbleupon, posterous, pinterest, Facebook, whatever… In fact, you can’t even properly copy the URL manually because there is only a image location link on the actual thumbnail – and that is too tiny to be meaningful for sharing. On the other hand, that is a very thoughtful copyright- defending policy. After all we are photographers and we do stand over the rights to our own images. And integrating other people’s images via URL would constitute copyright breaches.
In any case – iPhoneproject365 is a fun little app that will facilitate a bit of photo fun every day. It is free and easy to use, it will let you set an automatic reminder to shoot your image and it lets you upload your own images quick and easy. Over time you could easily check your progress as a photographer or find other uses for this handy little documentary tool. And if we are all lucky, the developer will keep working on this and eventually spoil us with Social Media integration.

Social Media for Photographers, Part 2

No navel-gazing today, let’s be practical. I have decided to shaaaaaaaaare with you something that might come in handy for you if you are a photographer with a) a Facebook fan page and b) a photography blog. Or even if you haven’t got a FB fan page yet – cos, let’s face it, a lot of people shy away from “yet another platform” because they think it is too much work to maintain it all. Well, here is the good news: There are plenty of Social Media clients out there that actually make it fairly easy for you to use all the available channels for self-promotion on the internet! You can, for instance, be active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace by only writing your status update once – applications such as tweetdeck or seesmic provide a desktop or mobile app which lets you post cross-network.
Sorta navel gazing… well, gazing through something roundy, anyway…
As you know, I have only recently started my own FB fan page for my “serious” photography. On my private profile I have been integrating the posts from my various blog endeavours for quite a while already. Since inaugurating Sonja Kroll | imagewerk I had actually manually imported my blog posts into the fan page’s news stream. Not very satisfactory. But strangely, the automatic import app did not seem to be available for fan pages. However, I have found a way of getting my blog posts fed into the page eventually. And I’ll show you how to do it because it is not particularly intuitive:
  1. Log into your FB fan page
  2. Click on “Edit Page” and go to “Apps” in the menu on the left, then click on “Edit Settings” under the “Notes” section. A new window will pop open. Click on “add” in the middle and then OK.
  3. Click “Edit Page” again and “Apps” again. This time under Notes you click “Go to application”.
  4. In the menu on the left, click the link “Edit import settings”. You will now be given the option to import one blog into your fan page stream.
  5. Simply paste the URL of your blog into the box, check the tickbox stating that you are importing your own blog and click “Start Importing”. That’s it.
FB will let you import only from your own blog and only from one blog. I understand point number 1 – for copyright issues. Why they assume that you may only have one blog to import from, I have no idea. I personally have about five blogs at this time – and I know plenty of people who have more than one, too. But hey, don’t worry – I am more than happy that I only get to import the one relevant blog into my fan page.
Hope this helps!

Anti?Social Media

I am a self-confessed social media addict fan. Twitter, Facebook, newsgroups, blogs, you name it – I am there. I simply love communicating. While face-to-face communication remains my favourite form of social interaction, I find internet-based communication increasingly handy and fascinating. Never have I been in such close contact with my friends and family who live all over the world. One status update reaches all, in a matter of seconds. We can chat, we can exchange links and we can look at photos. The old prejudice that internet communication is anonymous and false does not hold true for me. I am genuine – and so are my contacts because most of them are “real” people whom I have actually met in the matrix… ehm… real world.

However, I do admit that my fascination with social media occasionally veers into the obsessive. And certainly ever since I got my swish and fancy iPhone 4 *showsoff*, the addiction need to inform everyone on my contact list about my latest experiences has become virtually impossible to suppress. I am not alone in that, statistics console me. According to a 2010 study by Nielsen Media, Facebook users on average visit the network 19 times each month and spend a total of six hours in the network. (Um, only *six* hours per month? I get that per week…)

Right, you are wondering why I am writing about all this in my photo blog? It is reason enough for me to start looking at the social media phenomenon from a photographic point of view. If people nowadays “live” in the cloud, how does that actually look like? Where do people blog/update/tweet? Which devices to they use? Is social networking a lonely occupation? These are questions I would like to explore (photo)graphically.

Now, don’t worry, 2picsaweek is not going to become a branch of Facebook. But occasionally I will use the blog to document my project “Anti?Social Media“. This post is the first in the open-ended series. And therefore I end this entry with image number 1 entitled “Couch-booking”.

Got any comments? Would love to hear from you, especially if you have any suggestions, criticisms regarding the project and/or social media in general. Feel free to pass this on to your friends. And if you happen to know anyone who is willing to be part of my project, drop me a line to 2picsaweek@gmail.com – I’d love to play voyeur photographer and take pics of YOU while you’re networking!